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WORKOUT FOR THE WEEK: ​Take the Wheel to a Healthy Life

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Take the Wheel to a Healthy Life

We are all guilty of devoting more of our time to our smart phones, tablets, laptops, or whatever type of gadget we have than to our family, friends, and especially ourselves. There even are instances wherein you and your family are in the same room but are not talking to each other because all of you are so focused on criticizing other people’s posts, chatting with your friends online, and checking out the latest memes (which are actually very funny; I know, but still…). Perhaps some of you spend your day watching viral videos on YouTube or checking what’s trending on Instagram. But the point is, you’re neglecting the more significant things in life—our relationship with the people around us, spending time on more meaningful activities, and most importantly, our health.

As we spend more time with our gadgets, we cause damage to our body and increase our susceptibility to various health problems. Though its effects may not be immediately visible, slouching and staying in a bowing position for a long time may increase our risk of osteoporosis in the long run. It may also make our neck, shoulders, and muscles stiff and tense from holding our phones for hours. These are just some of the complications we may acquire from the prolonged use of gadgets. Fortunately, there is a way we can minimize these effects—through the wheel pose.

The Wheel pose or Chakrasana is derived from the combination of two Sanskrit words “chakra” which means wheel and “asana” meaning posture. Sometimes it is also referred to as Urdhva Dhanurasana or upward bow. In yoga, this pose is considered as an intermediate level backbend, so don’t expect yourself to master it during your first try. However, I assure you the benefits you can reap from doing this pose are pretty amazing once you get the hang of it.

For one, it helps lengthen and strengthen our bones, particularly our spine as it releases the tightness of the back and restores its elasticity and flexibility. This will help us maintain a good posture as we age, and it lowers the risk of osteoporosis. It also strengthens various muscles such as the rhomboids (located between the shoulder blades), the trapezius (the large muscles located from neck to mid-back), the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles (deep muscles which connect the shoulder blade to the upper arm), as well as the abdomen, wrist, and legs, resulting to smooth toned muscles all over the body.

If you constantly feel that you’re always gasping for air or have asthma, this pose also improves the respiratory system by stretching and opening up the chest muscles, allowing greater oxygen levels inside the lungs.

Another good thing about the wheel pose is that it enhances the lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine system. It stimulates the pituitary and thyroid glands, which play a vital role in combating stress, anxiety, and provides hormonal balance, thereby providing us with optimal health. Having balanced hormone levels is beneficial as it will result in the enhancement of fertility. For even greater results, it is best combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Now that I’ve mentioned at least a few good reasons that should’ve probably made you interested in doing the wheel pose by now, I’m going to reveal one more benefit which I think is the best reward the wheel pose has to offer.

Throughout this lifetime we’ve probably experienced overwhelming stress, anxiety, and/or emotional instability, not to mention experience getting our hearts broken. So if you still feel a little hurt from your last heartbreak, mad at somebody, or just easily irritated by everything, then the wheel pose is your friend. The wheel pose is considered a heart-opening backbend because as you sustain the pose, your heart is above everything else. The wheel pose is said to require a little vulnerability, but it allows you to “feel more empathy for others, patience in frustrating moments, and find equanimity. It will give you a sense of fulfillment and probably drown you in a rushing flood of positivity,” as explained by Kristin Wilson, a scientist and a yoga teacher. Even more, it will let you experience spiritual power and positive transformation. I told you wheel pose is a friend!

A little too excited to try the wheel pose? Yeah, me too! So here is a step-by-step instruction for doing the Wheel Pose or Chakrasana.

Wheel Pose

1.Lie supine on the floor. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your head, forearms relatively perpendicular to the floor, fingers pointing toward your shoulders.

2.Pressing your inner feet actively into the floor, exhale and push your tailbone up toward the pubis, firming (but not hardening) the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths. Then firmly press the inner hands into the floor and your shoulder blades against the back and lift up onto the crown of your head. Keep your arms parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths.

3.Press your feet and hands into the floor, tailbone and shoulder blades against your back, and with an exhalation, lift your head off the floor and straighten your arms. Turn the upper thighs slightly inward and firm the outer thighs. Narrow the hip points and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees, lifting the pubis toward the navel.

4.Turn the upper arms outward but keep the weight on the bases of the index fingers. Spread the shoulder blades across the back and let the head hang, or lift it slightly to look down at the floor.

5.Stay in the pose anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds or more, breathing easily. Repeat anywhere from 3 to 10 times.

6. Deepen the Pose. Once in the pose, lift your heels away from the floor and press your tailbone toward the ceiling. Walk the feet a little closer to the hands. Then, from the height of the tailbone, press the heels into the floor again. This will increase the depth of the backbend.







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